Definition of ephebe in English:


Pronunciation: /ɪˈfiːb//ɛˈfiːb//ˈɛfiːb/


  • (in ancient Greece) a young man of 18–20 years undergoing military training.

    • ‘Finally, a Cretan youth was allowed only one garment, the Attic ephebe wore a black garment, and in certain mystery cults initiates were required to wear white clothing.’
    • ‘It is a gorgeously effete, nearly 3-foot bronze sculpture of a supplicant ephebe wearing a laurel crown, his thin arms upraised.’
    • ‘A sleek statuette of a naked ephebe, with narrow limbs and a small convex belly, curiously anticipates, except in one small detail, Degas's nude study for an adolescent ballerina, six rooms and 4,000 years away.’
    • ‘An ephebe describes a teenage boy in ancient Greece (but could also describe most of the male characters in the musical Grease).’
    • ‘By the 330s, ephebes received a full year of training in hoplite fighting, archery, javelin-throwing, and catapult-firing, followed by a year of patrol duty.’


Late 19th century ː via Latin from Greek ephēbos adolescent boy, from epi near to + hēbē youth, early manhood.